With a group of 5 Interior Design students we entered a competition for a pop-up pavilion in Margate.The brief was to create a temporary and creative transformation and / or animation of two or more of Margate’s seaside shelters, with the aim of re-ignitingthe public’s passion for these historic structures and helping them to find a new role in contemporary coastal life.Our group chose Shelter 8. It’s the site of demolished coastal structure. It is a lost link in the necklace of pavilions once lining Margate’s coast.
Our proposal investigated the disappearance of these coastal sites, while simultaneously considering a future where the temporality of said pavilions is the currency which keeps them relevant. Imagine a summer-long series of installations transforming the old Victorian walking trail into a modern promenade from one intervention to the next. A cultural take-over, if you will, of Margate’s pavilion shelters. Pulling from the existing community and abroad, this large site for exploration provides a consistent opportunity for interaction, conversation, and response.
On a smaller scale, our own pavilion is as much psychological experiment as it is visual ghost. Re-plotting the original footprint of a demolished shelter, the form grows up from a now empty grass field. For three days on this site, people will explore, converse, contemplate and interact. Then, once again, the physical structure will disappear (although its essence will live on virtually: #ghostpavilion). Drawing attention to the future fate of its sister shelters, the absence of our installation is meant to promote an awareness of the importance of these places. For a short time where once there stood a totem to place making, now there is vast emptiness. Where once there was a gathering point on the horizon, now there is a flat line. Where once there was a moment of cultural history, a place of gathering and community, now there is just dirt. What will happen when there are no more pavilions lining the coast?
Sadly, we were not chosen, but were the runner-ups. Hopefully we will have the chance to build our concept next year. Although we were not chosen, they loved our idea so much that during this year’s event they choose to present our idea on a banner. So it’s still a little bit of a win.
This commission was offered by the Margate Coastal Park Promotion Group with funding from Arts Council England and Kent County Council, withthe agreement and support of Thanet District Council.